Christian Benteke scored an amazing volley for Liverpool on Sunday and we think this will be the start of an amazing season and career for Belgium striker at Liverpool.
Many fans of Liverpool, and other clubs, have expressed doubt as to whether the Belgian goalscorer is worth the huge fee. As someone who has watched Benteke week in week out since his arrival at Villa park I can inform Liverpool fans that a move for Benteke is money well spent. He is now 16/1 to be the Premier Leagues top goalscorer. You can get betting odds explained here.
The number one reason that Benteke is worth the outlay is a simple one. He has a proven Premier League goalscoring record. Benteke has scored regularly for an Aston Villa side that has consistently battled relegation, and that has lacked any real creativity. The prospect of what such a goalscoring talent could at a club with more attacking resources is a mouthwatering one. Another quality that Benteke’s goals have is that he has proven that he can score against the best teams in the league, something that Liverpool will need if they are to stand any chance of breaking into the top four again. Benteke’s goalscoring record against all manner of opposition is excellent, particularly for a player of only 24 years. At 24 he is a player that can still improve and is no doubt a solid investment for years to come. He is also part of an impressive Belgium squad internationally, although he has been victim so some unfortunately timed injuries ahead of big games for them. Goals win games and Benteke scores plenty.
What has surprised my most about this transfer has been the reaction of many Liverpool fans about it. Much of the attitude from them has appear to be feeling of being underwhelmed by the acquisition and it truly baffles me. Benteke scored more goals for a relegation form team last term than any of Liverpool’s recognised strikers. Liverpool should be well aware of his talents too as the striker has regularly been unplayable against the Anfield outfit, most recently in the 2015 FA Cup final where he helped lead Aston Villa to victory over the reds. What makes it even more confusing is the fanfare around the arrival of Roberto Firmino to Anfield.
While the player is doubtlessly talented he has never proved himself in the Premier League where so many foreign imports struggle to make an impact, particularly in their first season. Add to this the fact that the vast majority of Liverpool fans are unlikely to have watched much of Hoffenheim last season. Those who braved late nights to watch the Copa America would know that his form, while decent at times, was nothing to set the world on fire. I don’t see where the balance is between the reception from fans to acquiring Firmino and Benteke respectively. It’s laughable that there should be more excitement around an unproven entity than a proven Premier League star.
There is another myth that needs to be dispelled ahead of Benteke’s move, that ‘he won’t fit into Liverpool’s system.’ This is pure nonsense. Benteke has constantly proven his adaptability at Aston Villa. He is a powerhouse in the air but also regularly scores from through balls, beating players on the ground, both from inside and outside the box. He possesses a great first touch, can hold up the ball and is a skilled penalty taker. Last season proved he can hit a decent free kick too with a dead ball strike against Queen’s Park Rangers. Regardless of whether Liverpool deploy wingers or not Christian Benteke is a goalscorer with considerable strength, creativity, and technical ability. Yes he scored several goals, particularly at the end of the season, with his head but he is a player who has delivered goals without much by way of creative support so theres no reason the likes of Coutinho, Firmino, and Lallana won’t be apply to supply him with improved ammunition to score with. With wingers, without wingers, direct, or short and intricate, no matter the system if Benteke is the focal point of the team he will score.
It seems to me that the only explanation for the majority of reaction around this move, be it the attitude of indifference from Liverpool fans or talk from some pundits of Benteke struggling with a new system, appears to come from individuals who obviously have not actually watched Benteke play much since his arrival into the Premier League in 2012. What has in fact surprised me most though is that Liverpool appear to have been given a free run at signing the Belgian by other top clubs in need of a goalscorer. Villa fans will hope he stays but it appears unlikely so I will reiterate my opening sentiment, Christian Benteke would make a great signing for Liverpool or any top club, and wherever he ends up he will be a huge asset, even at 32.5 million pounds.